In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Sean McCool about tech-straction and psychological pacifiers.
Sean is an award-winning marketing consultant, a coach for entrepreneurs over 40, and a fellow podcaster. I enjoyed being on his show, Persuasion by The Pint, a few months ago!
In this interview, Sean shares his historical perspective and lessons on technology, why it’s so distracting, and we debate a bit about how much responsibility companies have over technology versus our own responsibility.
Sean does a great job of sharing from historical perspectives. He’s a great researcher, and he sent over a podcast syllabus in advance with all the topics he planned to cover – I’ve copied Sean’s notes below!
Mentioned in the episode:
- Connect with Sean McCool: https://seanmccool.com/
- Sean’s podcast, Persuasion by the Pint: https://persuasionbythepint.com/
- C.S. Lewis Article: https://www.godreports.com/2020/05/c-s-lewis-on-facing-fears-of-the-a-bomb-and-pandemics/
- My episode about reviving my email newsletter after years: https://emilyrichett.com/2021/10/05/episode-53-biz-pep-talk-send-the-dang-email/
Connect with me:
SEAN’S SHOW NOTES
Sean was so prepared for this interview! Being the great podcaster he is, he wrote out his own show notes that I’m including below so you can grab some bite-sized nuggets of wisdom!
Who said it?
Q: “The result of information overload is usually distraction, and it dilutes your focus and takes you off your game.”
A: Zig Ziglar (not sure the date but most of what he said he said before social media and the internet.)
Q: “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.”
A: Christopher Columbus – obviously he said it sometime in the 1400s to 1500s
- Tech-Straction is NOT New.
- Let’s define technology – “to invent useful things” / the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes
- Let’s define Distraction – 1. a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else. 2. extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
- Let’s look at technologies and how they got turned into distractions:
- Language was and is a technology – we can use language to describe or to create or to destroy or to distract.
- Fire was and is a technology – cook food, keep warm… or the first club strobe light to dance around.
- Tools, weapons (hunt and war and sport), agriculture (food and medicine and drugs)
- The arts, theater, The Roman games, etc
- The Roman Games were held 10-12x per year. The purpose? To keep the citizens entertained so they would not revolt. The gov’t was willing to spend money to distract people to keep itself in power. Attention/distraction then, just like now, was the real product.
- Printing press, radio, tv, internet
- Every form of media throughout time has been considered by some to be evil or a “waste of time”. Why read other people’s thoughts when you could think for yourself!? TV will rot your brain. Radio just plays the devil’s music. Newspapers are propaganda.
- Psychological Pacifiers
- Everything we just mentioned is what Nir Eyal might call a “psychological pacifier”
- Phrase from Nir Eyal –
- “We use these devices as psychological pacifiers as we are looking for an escape from uncomfortable sensations. And if we don’t deal with that fact, we will always find distraction somewhere.” https://blog.dropbox.com/topics/work-culture/distraction-starts-with-us (author David Vallance)
- The scene from Seinfeld where Elaine and her boyfriend are in a plane and he’s just staring at the back of the seat in front of him. (Pre-smart phone by the way)
- Stillness and doing nothing freaks people out.
- Science shows you CAN die of boredom. 2.5 times more likely to die from heart issues – the same as having obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/curious/201003/science-shows-you-can-die-boredom-literally
- so it makes sense we’re wired to be prompted into action/movement/stimulus.
- The problem is, if we’re honest, most of what we turn to when we’re bored doesn’t really help.
- Solutions – How do you stop a kid from using a pacifier or sucking their thumb or needing their blankey?
- Physical fast
- Digital fast
- Dumb phone
- Block time
- Practice — “time under tension-like working out” — grocery store lines — traffic lights — waiting rooms — school pick up line
- Be curious. Get awestruck.
- Business Solutions
- Block time.
- Be ok with social being one direction. When you get to a certain point you won’t be able to respond anyway.
- Use a VA
- Notice your own BUYING habits.
- Ex. Apple – I’ve never followed or even looked up a social profile for apple. And I’ve bought tens of thousands of dollars in products from them.
- Same for AT&T. And many other brands in my house.
- Even courses and books I hear about from podcasts or ads.
- Rarely do I make buying decisions off of organic social.